“Blessed” always has such a strange ring to me. I took issue with the word first when I rejected religious institutions as a child, and then later when I encountered people who I felt overused the term as they cruised their way through a piecemeal survey of various belief systems. I was judgmental and resistant to people who, with a blissful glow, would wish me blessings. I would get antsy when meetings and gatherings would start with blessings. This was true no matter what spiritual tradition they would be drawing on.
And at the same time, I have always felt a deep spirituality, one that I felt connected me with all living things and the planet as a whole. When I was agitated as a child I would go sit amongst trees and try to feel my connection with the earth. Quite literally, I would “ground” myself by sitting with my back against a tree and placing my hands on the dirt, starting around the age of 9. I also felt connected to all people, feeling a tightness in my chest whenever I witnessed an injustice, nearly getting nauseated if I saw cruelty. And I would send out silent wishes, trying to tap in to that flow of energy that I felt could heal.
What’s more – I have always described myself as “lucky” “given advantages” “privileged.” In other words, “blessed.” The more that I contemplate this word, the more that it fits. I find that it can mean whatever it means to me, free of the constraints of dissociative traditions, free of the layers of rules and history and codification. It can just mean a sense of good will freely given, a joy shared, a little bit of extra luck and fortification against pain to carry around in my heart’s pocket.
Right now I’m going through a spot where I am feeling both a boundlessness in my future possibilities and the heavy weights of past decisions. I am simultaneously soaring and struggling, trying not to feel torn apart by the pull between them, trying my best to accept the reality of both worlds equally in order to be fully present in my here and now.
I am thinking about blessings because I have been working this week on one of my biggest lessons for this year: Recognizing that I don’t need to struggle as hard as I do. I have friends who want to help carry some of my weights, who want to open up my future even more. I want to craft a world that is larger than myself, and there are others who believe in this. Even without this vision, I’m understanding that deepening my friendships has to include simply allowing others to see my struggle, recognizing that they don’t want me to be stuck there and allowing them to help me – and letting go of the idea that I need to always be the one helping them, that there’s weakness in vulnerability, that there’s value in being inhumanly strong.
This weekend, as I have friends supporting me in ever-surprising ways, I find that I am feeling blessed. This feeling is one of gratitude and peace and a deep joy of connection. I have no other word to describe it. It is a blessing. My friends are a blessing. My world is blessed. And I am humbled in the recognition of the connection between us all that I have always known is there.
And I want to thank all of you for reminding me that all of this is worth it.